Airport Taxi Busted for ‘Turbo’ Meter

Taxi driver Sawai Meepian is accused of jacking up fares with a hidden button near his turn signal.

BANGKOK — Police and soldiers at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport arrested a taxi driver yesterday for installing a rigged fare meter and having illegal drugs in his car.

Police say the driver, Sawai Meepian, installed a device known as “turbo meter” in his car, which can be pressed by hand to swiftly raise the fare. The switch was wrapped in a black cloth and hidden close to the turn signal, police said.

They also claimed to find 24 kratom leaves in the vehicle’s glove box. Kratom is an addictive plant used as a folk remedy and is illegal in Thailand.

Sawai said he has been driving taxis for 30 years. He acknowledged that he owned the car, but disavowed any knowledge about the rigged meter.



In a video recorded by a Matichon reporter, an officer demonstrates how the displayed fare can be run up by tapping the button.

According to Sawai, he rented his car to another taxi driver who drives at night shift. He said he believes the other driver installed the device in the car without his knowledge.

Sawai also told police he chewed the kratom leaves to treat his diabetes.

He was fined 2,000 baht for modifying his taxi without permission and charged with possession of narcotics.



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